October Newsletter

If you get the chance over the next few weeks, take a visit to the viaduct, as the Autumn colours are currently looking quite magnificent, especially in the early morning or late evening light.  We are so lucky to be living in an area with such a rich industrial and natural heritage.

A lot of activity has been taking place behind the scenes since the last newsletter. The project is moving forwards again. I currently feel a real sense of optimism and excitement at the way that the project is taking shape.

I hope to see some of you at the meeting on Monday. Details included below. Our next newsletter will be coming out in December, if you want anything included, please forward items of news to me by email.

Happy Reading

With best wishes

Kieran
kieran.lee@ntlworld.com

Open Meeting: The Gate Inn Awsworth

The next open meeting will take place at the Gate Inn, Main St, Awsworth,  NG16 2RN on Monday October 15th at 7:00pm.  There will be three main strands on which we will need to move forwards. These are:

  1. Project Update: There will be a detailed update on the Railway Paths led plan to carry out critical repairs and access.
  2. A Shared Vision for Bennerley Viaduct: At the last meeting, there was support for the idea of the FoBV taking increased ownership of an expanded project. Kieran will be delivering an illustrated presentation which aims to give shape and structure to what we hope will be the basis of an agreed FoBV vision.
  3. An Appropriate Structure We need to create an appropriate structure for the group and to develop its capacity to deliver an ambitious project. We are currently looking towards converting the FoBV into  a Charitable Incorporated Organisation CIO. (We are grateful to the many individuals and organisations who are advising and guiding us through this process.)
An agenda for the meeting is attached. (Click here) If you missed the previous meeting, unverified minutes of the meeting of August 13th are attached. Click here  We look forward to seeing you.  Members and Non members welcome.
Critical Repairs and Access:
Railway Paths Ltd, the owners of the viaduct are developing a plan to carry out critical repairs and create access to the deck of the viaduct.  A planning application will be submitted this Autumn to both Erewash and Broxtowe Borough Councils. Surveying work has been undertaken, discussions are taking place with landowners and relevant organisations. The FoBV is giving this project its full backing and support. We would like to acknowledge and thank Bill Tomson, the project manager from Railway Paths Ltd for his work and commitment to the project. Click the button  below for more details of the plans and proposals
Read more
Above Snap – Time. Volunteers making a Difference

Saturday Workdays:
The current RPL led project will create lots of opportunities for people to volunteer and contribute to the project. The Friends Group will be taking out its own public liability insurance enabling us to restore Saturday workdays. We look forward to announcing in the very near future when these workdays will commence as we achieved a great deal in 2016 and 2017. Tasks in the new project will include the removal of all ballast from the viaduct, linseed oil treatment of the structure, vegetation management, pathway creation and many more tasks. In the meantime, there will be a Sustrans Greener Greenways led workday under the viaduct on Wednesday October 24th.
For further details click here
Linseed Oil and Viaducts!!
Linseed oil is usually associated with cricket bats but soon we may all be linking linseed oil with Bennerley Viaduct.  Recent research by Dr Dave Gent has indicated that the life of wrought iron structures like the viaduct can be significantly extended if coated with linseed oil.  An added benefit is that the oil is a non toxic, natural product so it can be applied by non specialists. When our volunteer workdays recommence, one of the important tasks that we will undertake will be the application of oil to the reachable parts of structure. Our thanks go to Dr David Gent for conducting the research and identifying a strategy to preserve the viaduct. If you want to know more about this fascinating research, click below.
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Above: Visitors to Bennerley Viaduct contribute to the visitor economy.

The Visitor Economy
The rich industrial and natural heritage of Bennerley Viaduct and its surroundings is beginning to draw in visitors from all over the country. Recently, the Association for Industrial Archaeology had their annual conference at Nottingham University. The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct delivered a presentation  to the conference, followed by a guided walk on, under and around the structure. The group “greatly enjoyed” the visit.  In addition, the viaduct is increasingly becoming a venue for companies running heritage related tourism.  The visitor economy has the potential to bring in much needed trade to the area.
Explosions in the Canal!!

One of the delights of showing people around the viaduct is listening to the stories they tell. Recently, Ann Munsey a retired teacher from Bennerley School visited the viaduct with a Heritage Tour Company. She entertained us with stories of potassium explosions in the canal and pupils coming back to the school with grass snakes which they had caught under the viaduct. Anne put these stories down on paper and these were published in the Ilkeston Times. Ann was known as Miss Veni when she taught at the school. Thank you Ann for this entertaining bit of local history. To read the amusing account, click below.
Read More

Membership: As we approach the end of the year, this will be the time for members to renew their annual subscription at the bargain basement price of £5 for the year. Reminder letters will be coming out and we will try to ensure that there is a simple way for members to renew online.

Treasurer: Steve, our treasurer has moved up to the Lakes but he is continuing with the task until we can find a replacement. It would be absolutely wonderful if someone could step forwards to take on the role for a year. You would be taking on a key role within the group and this can be satisfying knowing that you are making a real difference. Help and support will be given if you think you could take on this role.

Trustees: We may be converting into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. If we do agree to take this route, we will be needing to appoint trustees to guide and steer the charity. We will disseminate information on the role of trustees later as we get to know more about the working operation of CIOs. There may be the opportunity in the future for you to make a valued contribution to the project by becoming a trustee.

Bennerley Viaduct Presentations

We are happy to deliver presentations on the fascinating history of Bennerley Viaduct to groups within the area. We have a large collection of images, stories, anecdotes related to the viaduct which we are happy to share at illustrated presentations. We have all the neccessary projection equipment which was purchased using a community grant from Erewash Borough Council. All we ask for is for a donation to the FoBV to help us with the project. If your group would like a presentation, contact Kieran Lee to arrange times and dates.

kieran.lee@ntlworld.com

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Coach Parties of Visitors marvel at Viaduct.

Following a presentation at Nottingham University, the Association for Industrial Archaeology made a visit to Bennerley Viaduct as part of their National Conference. A coachload of delegates enjoyed a ploughmans lunch in the Bridge Inn followed by a tour around, under and on the viaduct. The association played a key role in saving the viaduct back in the 1980s when British Rail wanted to demolish the structure. The members were really appreciative of all the work which has been done by the Friends and Volunteers to bring the structure back into use.

In addition, a heritage holiday company also visited the viaduct on the same day. They were given a guided tour of the viaduct. It is satisfying to see the viaduct becoming a destination for those interested in our industrial heritage.DSC_0444

Critical Repairs and Access given the go ahead by Viaduct’s owners.

Railway Paths Ltd, the sister charity to Sustrans are the owners of the viaduct. In July 2018, the board of RPL have agreed to fund the cost of critical repairs to the structure and create access on to the deck of the viaduct. RPL are in the process of raising the necessary funds to enable the repairs to take place and for a deck to be installed. Access to the deck will be via a ramp on the Erewash Canal end and via steps at the Awsworth end. The work should be put out to contract in Spring 2019. The work will cost somewhere in the region of £0.5m. The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct welcome this development. The image above shows repairs being made to  pier base three using traditional lime mortar.

Friends Group at History Event.

Drop in to St Mary’s Church in Ilkeston Market Square on Bank Holiday weekend where the IDLHS will be taking a different slant on the history of Ilkeston and district.  Look out for the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct display among the many other topics presented. The church is worth a look too. 

Continue reading “Friends Group at History Event.”

Joint Press Release from FoBV, RPL and Sustrans.

PRESS RELEASE

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, Railway Paths Limited and Sustrans have recently held a productive meeting to start the process of identifying possible options for a project, or projects, to achieve the aim of opening up the viaduct for public access and creating a link across it between the Erewash and Nottingham canals.  All three organisations remain committed to seeing the viaduct brought back into use as a walking and cycling route, but recognise that this may take a number of years and that it will need to be achieved in an incremental way depending on the availability of suitable funding.  Over the next few months the partners will explore the options that were tabled at the workshop, and assess their feasibility. These options include critical repairs to the structure, the creation of a path and the enhancement of the area underneath the viaduct, the construction of a ramp at the western end, steps at the eastern and the installation of decking.

The results of this work will then be submitted to the Railway Paths Limited Board and Sustrans Executive to seek approval for the implementation of a project.

Ongoing support from the community for the viaduct is integral to its future and all three organisations would like to acknowledge the value of the time and efforts that local people have invested, and hope that this partnership can continue.

–ENDS–

Chairman’s Report 2017-2018

THE FRIENDS OF BENNERLEY VIADUCT

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT  2017-2018

If the period covered by this report had ended with the calendar year on 31 December it would make for very different reading. It would show twelve months of effort, growth and partnership culminating in the achievement of very significant progress towards our ultimate aim – restoring the Bennerley Viaduct and bringing it back into use as a walking and cycling route. As it is, the final quarter of the year 2017-2018 has been marked by disappointment and some anger.  The reasons for this are well known to members and to the general public, and I will return to the topic at the end of this report.

Let me focus first of all on the multitude of activities and considerable achievements of our group since April 2017. Continue reading “Chairman’s Report 2017-2018”